Posted On Monday, September 17, 2012 at 08:23:13 AM
This is the seventh generation of what it is not only one of the most successful models from Toyota, but one of the most successful models in the history of automobiles. The Camry has been in India for over a decade now. And it has been so successful that Toyota never really bothered peddling its flagship. It just sold.
But that was a different era. With the likes of Hyundai now getting better at making luxury cars (as demonstrated by the new Sonata), and luxury brands like BMW ready to use price as an added attraction (as seen on the X1), competition is fierce. To be in the thick of things, Toyota had to do something drastic not just with the car, but also with availability and price.
The last two generations of the Indian Camry were the same spec and design as the American ones. But as it has panned out, in the US, the Camry – the best-selling car there – is more of an entry-level sedan. Quite unlike in India, where we see the Camry as a luxury model.
The new car is marginally longer and wider than the outgoing model. The exterior gets a fresh new look with a wide chrome-finished front grille and bejeweled HID headlamps. It lacks that stamp of distinction and the chrome seems a bit overdone, but it still gets the immediate attention that a new model needs.
Also what has changed is the engine. The older 2.4-litre 167bhp unit has been dumped for a 2.5-litre petrol engine that churns out a dozen horses more. The Dual VVT-I tech, as seen in the smaller Corolla Altis, also makes its debut in the Camry. This means a more efficient engine in terms of both, fuel consumption and emissions.
The on-board computer showed us a figure of 8.4kpl after the torturous city test drive. The car weighs nearly 1.5 tonnes, so you can’t really feel the upgrade in engine power compared to the earlier model. But that’s not to say the Camry is slow by any means. The 5-speed automatic gearbox has been replaced with a six-speed unit that is quite refined and convenient to use.
Where the new Camry really surprises is its steering. The car doesn’t feel as ponderous or heavy as we’ve known it to be. The sense of urgency shown by the new engine-gearbox combo deceives you into thinking you’re driving a car smaller than it actually is. All this without losing the Camry’s traditional straightline stability and plush ride.
For rear passengers, there’s acres of legroom. The new Camry frees up more headroom and passenger space inside and this has come at the expense of boot space. There are some nice touches though – like those power switches to push/pull the front left seat from the comfort of the rear seat.
Unlike earlier, the Camry is now assembled in India alongside the Innova and the Fortuner, which has reduced waiting periods and import taxes. So, it’s cheaper now, more spacious, refined and with a hint of fun when it comes to driving. Making it a package that is far too hard to resist.
Maruti Suzuki has given the Ritz a mid-life makeover. The major changes have happened in front, including a fresher, more angular front-end with sharp-edged headlamps, new front grille and reshaped bumper.
Only the diesel variants of the Ritz will carry the new look. Inside, the updated Ritz gets a new dual-tone palette with red highlights and improved lumbar support for the rear seats. The face lifted Ritz has been priced a tad higher than the older model and the trim range spans from 5.31 lakh to 6.23 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
New Range Rover
Land Rover has revealed the latest generation of its flagship SUV, the Range Rover. For the first time, the Range Rover will use an all-aluminium monocoque frame, which reduces weight by 420kg in spite of its expanded dimensions.
There are three engines choices, including a new entry-level 3.0-litre V6 diesel that is good for 254bhp and does 0-100kph in 7.4seconds. It will also return a claimed 16kpl. Expect the new Range Rover to come to India by mid-2013. It will be produced in an all-new facility at Solihull, England.